HONEY McBEE’S BUZZ ROUND THE MEDIA: A TOP TEN

WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES – indyref2 now fast appearing on the horizon, Brexit and Marmite [both love or hate]. Who needs Halloween amidst this miasma?  In pursuit of sanity, we thought this week we should probably give it all  a miss, so here instead, in no particular order, are ten other things we found interesting since we last met …

 

WE DON’T LEARN, DO WE? Last week was the 50th anniversary of Aberfan, where 116 children died through the alleged neglect of the Coal Board. In an extract from his coming book, Kenneth Roy in the Scottish Review  looked back at the immediate aftermath of our own 1996 tragedy at Dunblane – incompetence followed by the circling of wagons that is the inevitable official response, protecting and defending those who should be held accountable. A sobering read.

 

HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE:  The joy – or otherwise – of being one of the Tartan Army. Callum Macdonald in Sunday’s Bella Caledonia looked back at the many ways Scottish football snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. A reflection of our national character, he wonders? Ah well, England at Wembley next month. Bring it on…

 

IT’S GOOD, BUT IS IT LITERATURE?  Those of us of a certain age applauded the Nobel Committee’s decision to reward Bob Dylan with its prestigious prize. Youngsters [under-40s!] probably thought Who? – in which case, Iain Martin’s handy guide to Dylan will be very useful.  Though he previously looked back  fondly at the years when it was indeed ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and we thought change really was going to come,  Frank Furedi in Friday’s Spiked disagreed with the Nobel decision. Not so Brian Appleyard in the Sunday Times [£], for whom the haters and doubters are just jealous…

 

HOW MANY MSPs DOES IT TAKE?  Do you, like us, now recoil in horror at having to change a lightbulb? The choice is endless, the wattage unfathomable and we nearly always pick the wrong one. Take pity then on our Holyrood Parliamentarians, for whom light is gradually failing in the chamber.  And then it gets complicated. And very, very expensive…

 

NOT SO SMART:  Meanwhile, keeping the lights on may become a nation-wide problem, according to the spies in Cheltenham. The Sunday Times reported that GCHQ is calling for strict monitoring of the millions of smart meters being manufactured in China [£] to install in UK homes. A built-in switch can not only turn off domestic supplies remotely, but black out part of the national grid. Sounds like a hacker’s paradise, backed by government and coming to a home near you as early as next year…

 

BOG STANDARD WON’T DO:  So said Manuela Freihofer in Conservative Woman, comparing the debate over Theresa May’s Grammar schools with the established vocational as well as academic choices in her native Switzerland, and indeed, neighbouring Germany.  It’s an English debate of course, not ours, but given Holyrood’s current focus on educational inequality, perhaps it should be…

 

STRICTLY BALLS:  Apparently we’re all Strictly watchers now, even though some of us would never admit it.  Jane Martinson in Saturday’s Guardian looked at the phenomenon that is would-be Chancellor Ed Balls in a banana suit – he is, according to the show’s producer, “this year’s catnip for the politically engaged.”  If you missed the caped crusader ‘dancing’ this week, here’s a glimpse! Strictly heading for Channel 4? No chance…

 

DEAR SANTA:  Definitely one for the letter to the North Pole. From the weekend’s Quartz posting comes news of a Karl Lagerfield box of colouring crayons.   Available from the shop at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, it’s a snip at only $3,000. Just ask for the KARLBOX, but you’ll need to hurry. There’s already a waiting list…

 

AHEAD OF HER GAME:  Last Tuesday 11th October was Ada Lovelace Day. Carron Shankland of Stirling University explained in the Conversation why the Victorian mathematical genius is so important to the history of computing. We need heroes to inspire future generations, says Shankland – and we need to do more to encourage young women to follow in Lovelace’s footsteps…

 

AND FINALLY:  So, farewell then, Jean Alexander.  Even those of us who are not Corrie or Summer Wine fans remember Hilda’s ‘muriel’ on the living room wall, the ubiquitous curlers and headscarf. Here are just two of the obits from the Sunday Telegraph and Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian

 

 

 

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